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Creating a healthy and safe environment inside the Alaska National Guard is an endeavor that should be free from political games.

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Alaska has plenty of laws and regulations to deal with mine development.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
12/10/2013
Flu Vaccine Week

Sickness has ruined more than one Christmas.

We get tired trying to do all of the holiday stuff — parties, shopping, decorating, baking. Then, we think we can take in one more festive event, and discover we've already done too much and the immune system collapses.

It can mean the beginning of a cold or the flu. For one of those there is prevention.

Alaska's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Joe McLaughlin, says this is National Influenza Vaccination Week. He's recommending, despite all of the busy schedules, that Alaskans make time to get a flu shot.

"We're still a couple weeks away from the holidays, and getting vaccinated now would give you the chance to develop immunity before Christmas," Dr. McLaughlin says. "With holiday travel and increased gatherings with friends and relatives, you want to be sure to have had your flu shot."

The state's virology lab has confirmed flu specimens in Alaska every week since the middle of October. Most of it is of the swine flu variety.

This year's vaccines will protect against this and other forms of the flu, according to McLaughlin.

Not only are there still 15 shopping days until Christmas, there are a few days left to immunize against the flu for a flu-free holiday season.